I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm all for splurging on workout clothes ... in moderation. It's annoying, yes, spending so much money just to sweat all over something and feel super gross. But after buying $12 leggings for years only to realize that the entire time my fellow gym-goers have been able to see the sheen of my backside -- my tune changed. Still, spending $100 on one single pair of pants? Yeah, not EXACTLY something my inner bargainista can swallow easily.
So here at The Stir, we finally decided to test out the battle of prices by choosing five different workout bottoms, varying from $60 to $10, and see which ones we liked best.
Just you wait: You'll never guess how much my favorite pair cost!
1. Merrell LeeLani Cinch Leggings ($60)
2. Under Armour Perfect Tight Capri ($54.99)
3. C9 by Champion Women's Fitted Yoga Pant ($39.99)
4. C9 by Champion Women's Capri Compression Tights ($19.99)
5. Kohl's Tek Gear Cropped Leggings ($10)
What you need to know: I worked out in each of these items three times. The workout usually consisted of 30 to 60 minutes on an elliptical or a run, around five miles.
The results: I can honestly say I would buy all of these products again. Even the $10 leggings proved comfortable and lightweight.
Cheap or expensive, the thing that really matters when buying workout bottoms is the material. Take the C9 by Champion Women's Fitted Yoga Pants, for example, which were my favorite and felt just as nice as some of the more expensive brands I've tried in the past. In the middle of our price range, these pants are made with a polyester and spandex blend, which is great for wicking sweat and never once made me feel uncomfortable. The thick fabric prevented chaffing and kept me warm during my cool morning sweat sessions. The Merrell bottoms and Under Armour tights? Also made of polyester and spandex and ranked highest on my list.
As for the other two options, I found that the cotton $10 leggings were fine for a light workout, but if you're gettin' down and dirty, the cotton gets soaked and, well, makes things uncomfortable. And I hate to say this, but I found that the nylon in the C9 compression tights held onto odors (hey, I won't pretend my sweat doesn't stink!).
The verdict: You definitely don't have to spend tons of money on your workout wardrobe to make it functional. Look for polyester in your workout bottoms and stay away from 100 percent cotton options if you're looking to avoid chaffing after a few wears.
Do you spend money on your workout wardrobe?
Image via Emily Abbate